Two CHS sophomores tabbed 2020-21 MSSA all-district

Hornets’ Bonderer, Lady Hornets’ Reeter honored after teams’ strong seasons

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Sophomore guard Griff Bonderer of the 2020-21 Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets, seen scoring inside during a December home win over Trenton, has been selected to the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association's all-northwest district Classes 4-6 team.
Sophomore guard Jessica Reeter of the 2020-21 Chillicothe High School basketball Lady Hornets, seen firing a 3-points shot during a district-tournament win over Richmond, has been selected to the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association's all-northwest district Classes 4-6 team.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

With tougher sledding, resulting from the Missouri State High School Activities Association’s expansion to six classifications, strong 2020-21 showings by Chillicothe High School’s basketball teams generated only two Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association all-northwest district honorees for the just-concluded season.

Both CHS choices by regional media are sophomore guards – Jessica Reeter of the 17-8 Lady Hornets and Griff Bonderer of the 15-10 Hornets.

Chillicothe and fellow Midland Empire Conference schools Maryville and Cameron were larger members in MSHSAA Class 3 a season ago, leading to more-favorable results and comparisons with players from smaller schools. This year’s expansion to six classifications not only pushed those three back up to Class 4, along with multiple MEC brethren, but pitted nominees against players from Class 5 St. Joseph: Lafayette and Class 6 St. Joseph: Central, as well. Due to the shortage of very large schools in the district, those few – often only one – are traditionally lumped together with those of the next-smallest class for the MSSA’s all-district considerations.

Both Chillicothe choices easily could have gone to largely-as-deserving teammates with similar performances. Hornets senior Hayden Simmer and Lady Hornets junior Essie Hicks had very fine seasons with statistical “strong suits” generally equivalent to those of Bonderer and Reeter, but the association’s arbitrary limit of 10 honorees per classification (combined classifications, in this case) left them just beyond the cutoff line.

As for the pair of young CHS selections, Reeter, in addition to being the team’s point guard and primary ballhandler for a second-straight year, was its leading scorer and top outside-shooting threat with an average of 12.1 points per game. The 5’4” 10th grader paced the squad in scoring in a team-most 11 contests (Hicks was second with eight, including the team’s single-game high of 28) and had five of its seven 20-points-plus single-game outputs.

A 41% sniper from beyond the arc, she led the Lady Hornets with 65 3-points baskets, well beyond more than twice that of the nearest teammate and fourth-most in a season in program history.

Included in that performance was her program record-breaking eight triples in a win over Lathrop on Feb. 1, breaking Jordan Hibner’s and April Marks’ prior game record of seven.

Additionally, Reeter topped the Lady Hornets in assists, averaging 2.6 per game.

“Our point guard who played extremely well,” CHS head coach Darren Smith shared in providing information for her nomination.

Classmate Bonderer also was the top scorer, on average, for the Hornets during their better-than-expected season. He averaged 14.4 points, including hitting a team-high 58% of his 2-points field-goal attempts and a respectable 37% of his 3s. His 60 successful treys were 25 more than his nearest teammate.

The 6’2” guard, who could play forward when needed, also topped the Hornets in rebounds (6.2 per game) and was second in assists (2.7). His overall shooting percentage (45%) was CHS’ best, as was his free-throw percentage (76%), nipping Simmer by a percentage point.